One of the best perks of living in Manhattan, in my humblest of opinions, is that there is always great fun to be had by a geek chick like me. Googling “geek things to do in NYC” always yields multiple results that I’d totally (+1) if more people had Google+. Rather than frolicking amongst the suits of armor at the MET like I usually do (honestly, is there a better place to read A Dance with Dragons?), I decided to branch out and chose a candidate from my random searching: The Musuem of Comic and Cartoon Art.
Located in SoHo on Broadway off of Houston, the museum seems misplaced in one of the busiest shopping areas in the whole of Manhattan. In fact, if you didn’t already know it was there, you probably would never find it amongst the hipsters jetting in and out of the Urban Outfitters just a block away. Hidden on the second floor of some building, the museum might as well have been under an invisibility cloak. Luckily for me, some dude was selling paintings of Marvel Superheroes on the sidewalk or I would have never known I was on the right track.
A Brief Walkthrough: After entering the random building, get in the elevator and go to the second floor. The door too the museum should appear on your left. If the security guard tries to stop you, you can either quickly dispose of him with a shield-bash to the head, or you can politely tell him where you’re going. After entering the gallery, hand over 6 bucks to the gentlemen behind the desk. If you’ve done all this correctly: ULTIMATE VICTORY IS YOURS: now back to the plot.
I probably wouldn’t pay more than the admission fee to go to this museum again (the fee is actually a donation by the by, the museum is non-profit and largely managed by volunteers). The museum is a two-room gallery, where there is no permanent exhibit. When I was there (and until mid-August) the museum was showcasing Will Eisner’s New York: From The Spirit to the Modern Graphic Novel. The exhibit was awesome and expertly curated. It started with art from Eisner’s work with The Spirit to contributions to the development of the modern graphic novel and his time as a professor. I was most struck by the beautiful renditions of life in modern New York City. I never thought a cartoonist could capture the humor, isolation, and well…New Yorkness of my complex little island.
The second exhibit follows the first. In the Spirit of Will Eisner: Creators influenced by the Legendary Cartoonist includes art from some of the top cartoonists of the last seventy years that were in some way influenced by the man himself. Artists include: Peter Kuper, Harvey Kurtzman, Batton Lash, Steve Leialoha, Michael Avon Oeming, Peter Poplaski, Joe Quesada, Paul Rivoche, Trina Robbins, Jerry Robinson, Stan Sakai, Mark Schultz and many many others.
All in all, I had fun at this museum. I was a little disappointed at how small it was, but it seems that it changes up its galleries often enough to warrant a return trip. The museum offers several classes for aspiring cartoonists and past seminars have included how to write storyboards for animation and the long and short of plotting. Cool, eh? Legit artists teach the classes and prices vary but are always less for members.
I’m no artist- even my doodles bring me shame- but I’ll definitely check out the annual MoCCA festival. The annual two-day fundraiser includes a multitude of special guests and exhibitors that give lectures and host question and answer panels.
So, if you live in or plan to visit NYC, AFTER you go play in the MET, give this small museum a visit. If nothing else, it will certainly kill an afternoon.